Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2021

Publication Citation

28 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 1 (2021)


Globalization has reduced barriers to trade, communication, and understanding, opening opportunities that extend far beyond national borders. However, in this bounty of opportunity lie obligations, and often those obligations tie a nation's hands when trying to deal with a problem that arises. One obligation nations face is upholding the United Nations' (UN) decision to prevent the illicit use of cannabis. Another is supporting and following the World Trade Organization's (WTO) near elimination of barriers for companies to bring patent and trademark protection with them into any country they do business with. In a modern globalized economy, if a nation fails to uphold the obligations of one agreement, the consequences spill over into the network of obligations upheld by other nations.

The rising cannabis industry is a pristine example of this obligatory burden. Canada broke the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs ("Single Convention'], establishing a recreational cannabis industry that rocketed into financial success. The countries that uphold the WTO's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), except Canada, now bear the burden of Canada's decision. That obligation has grown so great that other countries may find following Canada's financial success requires • shirking the monopolistic rights the WTO mandates; otherwise, they risk becoming a playground for Canadian companies seeking to globalize.

This note attempts to provide a solution to these conflicting obligations by proposing a temporary obligation realignment. By proposing a temporal exception to patent enforcement, the WTO TRIPS Agreement can be amended, as minimally as possible, to conform with the obligations cast upon the rest of the world when Canada sluffed its.